India backs WHO over need for a thorough probe in Covid-19’s origin

at 11:01 pm
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New Delhi (NVI): India today said that it backs the WHO chief’s call for further probe into the origin of coronavirus, days after the World Health Organisation released a report saying that data was withheld from its officials who travelled to China to study the origin of deadly virus that has claimed millions of lives across the globe.

“We share the need for a comprehensive and expert-led mechanism that would expeditiously investigate the origin of Covid-19 in cooperation with all stakeholders,” said Arindam Bagchi, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson.

“We will continue to work with the WHO to strengthen capacity and improve global health security so that the present report and further studies will provide valuable inputs on developing protocols and building a knowledge base and expertise that facilitates genomic surveillance to track virus mutations and pro-actively respond to the next global pandemic,” he added.

Although MEA didn’t name China, it noted that WHO DG Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has separately raised the issue of delays and difficulties in accessing raw data for the team conducting the study.

“We fully support the Director General’s expectation that future collaborative studies will include more timely and comprehensive data sharing. In this connection, we also welcome his readiness to deploy additional missions,” MEA spokesperson said.

Arindam Bagchi further said that India joins other stakeholders in voicing their expectations that follow up to the WHO Report or further studies, “including on an understanding of the earliest human cases and clusters by the WHO on this critical issue, will receive the fullest cooperation of all concerned”.

“The report represents an important first step in establishing the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has listed four pathways concerning the emergence of the disease but has stressed the need for next-phase studies across the region. The report also stresses the need for further data and studies to reach robust conclusions,” Bagchi said in his response to media queries on recently released WHO-convened global study on the origin of Covid-19.